Light in the Shadows (Page 82)

Light in the Shadows (Find You in the Dark #2)(82)
Author: A. Meredith Walters

So I had stupidly made the trek to Palm Beach to see if my parents were ready to bury the hatchet. To put the past behind us.

All I had gotten was a door slammed in my face and a stern warning to never darken their doorstep again. I remember pulling out of the driveway, waiting for the emotional paralysis. I anticipated some heavy-duty fallout from being rejected, once again, by the people who had given me life, for whatever that was worth.

But nothing had come. Instead of being devastated, I had called Maggie and then later Ruby. Getting from them all of the love and support I could ever need. And I knew, without any doubt that I would never desire or need that from my parents. They had no place in the world I was building for myself.

After that, I had thrown myself into my plans for the future. Maggie and I had decided instantly that we would look for an apartment together. Maggie had gotten a job with Fairfax County Schools as a middle school English teacher. We were both as happy as we could be without being with each other. But we were finally at a point where that could change.

I was in a good place, though I continued to have my setbacks. Moments when I wasn’t sure I could put one foot in front of the other. My fear and paranoia about being abandoned, about ruining everything, continued to plague me at times. But I no longer allowed it to rule me either.

My therapist in Florida told me I may always have them. But every day I felt myself approaching a semblance of nirvana. And that was what got me out of bed every single morning. I got in contact with a reputable therapist outside of Washington D.C. and began my weekly appointments soon after arriving in Virginia. I took my medication every day without fail. These small elements of control were hugely important to me. And even though every day was a test, a struggle, I was happy to fight because I had learned to be proud of the person I was. Demons and all.

Maggie had found us an apartment in Arlington. She was thirty minutes from work and I was a short distance from school. But most importantly we were together.

There was a knock at the door and I hobbled over to open it. “What the hell is wrong with you?” Daniel asked, walking past me with a large, flat object in his hands.

“I think I broke my f**king toe. That’s my f**king problem,” I growled, unleashing my inner sailor with the f-bombs flying out of my mouth. Daniel rolled his eyes.

“Well, here you go. I had to wade through Saturday traffic. You owe me, man,” Daniel said, handing me the thing he had to wade through traffic for.

“I appreciate it. Now help me hang it and stop your bitching,” I rooted through a few boxes until I found my hammer and some nails. Daniel held the picture up in the proper spot above the couch. When were finished, we stood back and took in my handy work.

Daniel shook his head. “You really need to get the whole pu**y thing in check. Rachel will be driving me crazy to up my game, thanks to you. One of these days I will seriously kick your ass,” Daniel grumbled. I caught him rubbing the shiny band on his left ring finger and knew he was all talk. He would do anything in the world for his wife and she was way past asking him to “up his game.” They already had everything that they wanted.

Daniel and Rachel lived only fifteen minutes from us in Alexandria. Daniel was in medical school at Georgetown and Rachel worked with a catering company in Reston. They had been married for two years now and Rachel was expecting their first child.

If there was such a thing as happily ever after, those two had found it.

And I was determined to have mine.

“Thanks, Daniel. I’m sure we’ll call you later,” I promised.

“Sure thing. I’m happy to help. We still on for raquetball tomorrow?” he asked before leaving.

“I don’t know,” I answered and Daniel snorted.

“I guess it all depends on how far into the night the celebrations go, huh?” he pouted his lips in a sad attempt at a seductive face and I shoved him out the door.

“Whatever, man. Later.” I closed the door and turned around. There was no way Maggie would miss the new picture. I just hoped she had the response to it that I wanted.

I went about cleaning the apartment as best I could. I worked on a few more boxes, putting things away. I located the rest of my tools and put the bed frame together. Two hours and lots of cursing later, I finally had our mattress off the floor.

The bed looked really inviting and I realized how tired I was. But there was still too much to do before Maggie got home.

At five-thirty, I put in an order with our favorite Chinese place and got in the shower. I dressed in jeans and the button down shirt Maggie had gotten me for my birthday.

She came bursting through the apartment door, arms loaded down with bags. She and Rachel had made a serious dent in their credit cards. “Did you buy an entire store?” I joked, coming out from the kitchen.

I looked behind her to the picture that she had yet to notice. She was too intent on showing me her purchases. “I found these awesome boots that will look killer with my jean skirt! Check them out!” She pulled out a set of knee high boots that looked exactly like the other pair she had sitting in the closet. Though I didn’t dare tell her that.

“They’re great, baby,” I said, leaning in to kiss her soft lips. Maggie dropped the bags and wrapped her arms around my neck. “Mmm. You taste amazing,” she moaned into my mouth and I forgot momentarily about my big plans for the night.

Before we could get too carried away, there was a knock at the door. “Who the hell is that?” Maggie griped.

I laughed into her downturned mouth. “Food. I ordered from China Chef. Figured your day of consumerism would make you hungry,” I said. Maggie rubbed her belly.

“Good thinking. I’m just going to put the bags back in the bedroom,” Maggie replied grabbing her purchases. She still hadn’t noticed our new wall hanging and I didn’t say anything. It was important that she saw it on her own time.

I gave the delivery guy money and took our dinner into the kitchen. Maggie’s shriek from back in the bedroom made me grin. “You put the bed together!” she yelled as she came flying down the hall and leaping into my arms.

“You are so going to get lucky in that thing later,” she promised running her hands up my shirt. I pulled her hands away. As much as I wanted to go in the direction she was heading, I had other plans for her this evening.

“Come and eat your dinner, my little nympho,” I told her, getting our plates out of the cabinet. Maggie grumbled but the smell of Chinese food ended any further complaining. We ate our dinner together, laughing, talking and simply enjoying being with each other.